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'Grimm' Renewed for Season 2

What's the secret of this sleeper series's success?


David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt

David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt in "Plumed Serpent" (Grimm 114)

Scott Green/NBC

As has long been expected, NBC's hit fairy-tale/procedural series Grimm has been renewed for a second season.

The news came via a Twitter post from one of the show's writers, Akela Cooper, who broke the news on Twitter on Friday morning: "Just heard the good news: #GRIMM IS GETTING A SECOND SEASON!! ... Walk into the office this morning & our showrunners David Greenwalt & Jim Kouf tell me the good news: #Grimm is picked up 4 a second season!"

Quiet Success

The success of Grimm has been a testament to ability over buzz. The talk before it premiered was pessimistic, because it was the "other" fairy tale show (Once Upon a Time had more attention and glamor) and had been slotted into Friday nights after Chuck. Fridays are still seen as less desirable on broadcast TV (overall viewership is lower and competition, especially versus cable, is high), despite the periodic success stories to be found there (lingering proof that TV execs and pundits still think as if everybody still watched TV by racing to the set at broadcast time). And to be placed after Chuck, a series the network was already in the process of writing off, didn't bode well either. Then there was the hiccup with the World Series which seemed to wrong-foot both shows at a delicate point in the season.

But Grimm has flourished, in part because it started strong and got consistently better over the course of its freshman season. And the ratings have been solid: In its Fridays at 9 p.m. time slot, Grimm has been averaging pretty consistent ratings, its most recent episode bringing in in 5.2 million viewers. In the advertiser-coveted adults 18-to-49 demographic it's been averaging a 1.5 rating and 4.8 million total viewers.

Even more impressive, at last tally, its 18-49 numbers enjoyed the largest increase — a startling 87 percent — of any network series in DVR Live+7 data, as TVLine noted. That's the largest increase of DVR over live viewership of any network series.

And Once Upon a Time, if it had stood by itself, couldn't have launched the next level of fairy-tale series and movies (including the Battle of the Beasts): it was Grimm catching on, with a darker, genre-crossing take on the material, that allowed executives to believe that there were possibilities for expanding on the fairy-tale premise.

Strengths and Opportunities

Where does Grimm go from here? In order to grow to the next level in season 2 the series needs to move on from its lamentable addiction to the monster-of-the-week format, which hinders its ability to flesh out the Wesen (the anthro-creatures that protagonist Nick can see, thanks to his heritage as a monster-hunting Grimm). Unlike early seasons of Supernatural, say, where the focus was solely on creatures like the Wendigo as malevolent agents of destruction, on Grimm there's a real opportunity to develop more complex arcs involving these Wesen over more than one episode, because they lead complex lives with feet in two different worlds.

Proof of this is the presence of Monroe, a Blutbad who's consistently charming despite having to perform the function of Infodump Coordinator. Wrapping up each creature's encounter in one episode makes them seem more disposable -- to take a recent example, the storyline involving Ariel (Danielle Panabaker) in "Plumed Serpent" seemed rushed, though at least she (inexplicably) survived in the tag for a future encounter.

The actor to plays Monroe, Silas Weir Mitchell, draws attention to how relatable the potential depth of the Grimm world can be as one of the show's biggest strengths. "The way I tend to look at what goes on in that world, not to sound high-faluting, forgive me, but it's sort of psycho-mythological in a lot of ways," Mitchell said recently. "I think a lot of mythology is meaningful to us as humans because it puts psychological forms in a kind of an organization that we can understand."

Developing Lead

Nonetheless, Grimm continues to tell interesting stories in an unconventional and involving fashion. But what's most intriguing about Grimm is the evolving presence of David Giuntoli as Nick. At the start, though promising, I wasn't sure he had the goods to be the engrossing, magnetic anchor that the exploration of this strange and hidden world would need.

But as the season has developed, so has Giuntoli, revealing a subtlety of performance and clues to how Nick silently balances his concerns about how being a Grimm threatens the stability of the rest of his life with a growing relish for the kind of monster-hunting adventure he's not quite ready for while, at the same time, hoping to invent in himself a new kind of Grimm that can be a friend to the Wesen as well as a hunter.

Well done to Giuntoli and the rest of the talented cast, and to Greenwalt and Kouf and their team. It's exciting enough to have a successful fantasy series get on the air and stay on the air -- but for it to be good to start with and get better as it goes along is pretty awesome.

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